Subtitled “The Bert Berns Story,” Piece of My Heart has a book by Daniel Goldfarb that traces the career of the 1960s composer of songs including the Beatles’ “Twist and Shout,” plus “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Cry Baby,” “Under the Boardwalk," "Hang on Sloopy” and the Janis Joplin hit that gives the show its title. Berns died in 1967 at 38 of heart failure.
The show will be produced by Merged Work Productions (lead producers) and Jack Thomas (executive producer), along with music-world icon Steven Van Zandt and longtime David Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer, Maureen Van Zandt and Joe Grano (Jersey Boys). Denis Jones will direct and choreograph. Van Zandt will also serve as the show’s musical director.
Shaffer issued a statement saying, "When you take the toughest, most emotional songs in rock 'n' roll, pair them with the glamorous, romantic story of the bad boy who wrote them, then bring in a team like this one, you've got combustible dynamite!"
Specific dates and a theatre for the Broadway production have yet to be set. The initial Off-Broadway production ran July-September 2014 at the Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center. No casting has been announced, but an industry reading in March 2015 was performed by Zak Resnick (as Berns), Drama Desk Award nominee Leslie Kritzer, Tony Award nominee de’Adre Aziza, Theatre World Award winner Linda Hart, plus Derrick Baskin, Carleigh Bettiol, Bryan Fenkart, Joseph Siravo and Mark Zeisler, with an ensemble that includes Teresa Gattison, Shonica Gooden, Ralph Meitzler, Harris Milgrim, Michael Millan, Gabrielle Ruiz and Heather Parcells. No word on whether any of them will take part in the Broadway production.
Click here for details on the 2014 Off-Broadway run, and the initial announcement of the planned Broadway transfer.